Sharon Ellis, chief financial officer of Nerium International and Bob Holt, retired director of sales and recruiting for Hewlett Packard, participated in a panel for BA 1101 classes on April 9.
The two alumni and advisory council members discussed why they chose the Rawls College, how they decided to go into their respective fields and how they ended up in their most recent positions.
Ellis is with the 2011 startup Nerium International, which is a global relationship marketing company that sells "age-fighting products crafted from cutting-edge research and science." In its first six years, Nerium generated sales of $1.5 billion globally. The company was ranked number one on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private U.S. companies. Nerium is based in Addision, Texas.
Ellis encouraged students to do work that matters, to have a strategic mindset and to determine how individual actions can add value to their companies. She shared her own experience with unprofessional new hires as well as different ethical dilemmas she had to overcome. She also encouraged students to stay honest, own up to their mistakes and to stay up-to-date with current events in the business world by reading the Wall Street Journal.
Holt, served for more than 10 years as one of the most successful sales recruiters for Hewlett Packard (HPQ on NYSE), a 36 billion dollar global technology company.
He advised students to "make themselves happen to life rather than letting life happen to them." His council to young business aspirants is to take control of all situations and address them with maturity and the "big-picture in mind." Holt also stressed the importance of maintaining connections with other Rawls College students and of consciously networking.